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A Guide To Being Sherlock

The BBC’s modern incarnation of Conan Doyle’s work has proven to be a roaring success. With Benedict Cumberbatch playing the genius detective and Martin Freeman his invaluable companion, we wait on tenterhooks for the fourth season. But our favourite unorthodox detective has claimed that he’s nothing special. He just has a different outlook on things that other people don’t. When he gets right down to it, Sherlock just follows a series of directions that let him get by. Although the full list is probably much longer, here’s a few of the more important ones to use.

Avoid Superfluous Information

I generally prefer the original metaphor but most people will probably understand the more modern version. Sherlock describes his mind as a ‘harddrive’ that can only hold so much information. The more information that he absorbs, the harder it is to remember. To make the most of his memory, Sherlock avoids information that he doesn’t need to solve cases. Sports results, astronomy and day-time television are all ignored as he expands his knowledge base.

But Take In Everything

Sherlock Analysing Mary

“It’s just one possible explanation of some of the facts.” One of the things that makes Watson constantly in awe of his best friend is how he constantly uses the tiniest details to figure out larger clues. In Blind Banker, Sherlock realised that the banker had been murdered after noticing that the gun would have been used by the other hand. Their first adventure together – A Study In Pink – Sherlock thought he had a murder suspect but discounted him after paying attention to the label on the suitcase. Most police officers would have taken him in for questioning but Sherlock realised the truth and kept on looking.

Play The Long Game

Sherlock Headstone
Sherlock’s gravestone

Sherlock meticulously plans out every move and how other people will eventually respond to it. After Moriarty is captured and Mycroft trades information, Sherlock realises what will happen. The two brothers plan their retaliation to a plan that hasn’t even happened yet. Sherlock realises that his ‘death’ will be the only way out and plans to go undercover in order to disassemble Moriarty’s empire.

Think Outside The Box

Mycroft’s stolen credentials

Maybe one of his less professional talents is Sherlock’s light-fingered touch. In the first episode, he reveals that he steals from Lestrade whenever he feels the detective is irritating. Apparently there’s a stack of stolen police IDs at his flat. He also used one of Mycroft’s ‘lost’ identification cards to infiltrate a top-secret research facility. Remember folks, stealing is wrong but letting people get away with murder is wrong…er?

Be Strong Willed

Going through his adventures, Sherlock would frequently find his way blocked by more law-abiding folks. A quick way through is usually talking fast and a quick bluff. But maintaining a strong will at all times builds a certain reputation that reaches people before you even get there. It helps when reassigning the ex-boyfriend to a back seat.

Sherlock Scary Grin

Dress Appropriately

Not to be confused with expensively, Sherlock teaches a simple approach here. If you need to sneak into somewhere closed off, grab a guards outfit. Need to infiltrate an expensive restaurant? Dress like a waiter and blend in. Obviously, if you get invited to Buckingham Palace, consider getting more than a bedsheet. Unless you can actually pull off a toga.

Sherlock Holmes John Watson Buckingham Palace Scandal In Belgravia
“Are you wearing underwear?” “No.”

Be Open Minded

Sherlock Mind Palace

Sherlock comes up with a hypothesis and sticks with it. Until he finds evidence that points to the contrary. After that, he drops what he thinks he knows and re-evaluates. This isn’t just helpful in solving crimes but it helps in all sorts of more mundane events in life. But don’t forget the border between possible and impossible. Ghosts aren’t real but people still believe in them.


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Graham Host

Graham Host is a member of the Fan Contributor program. In his spare time, he enjoys the works of Terry Pratchett, DC Comics and a wide assortment of video games. Under no circumstances should he be fed after midnight. Contactable only via the Twitter icon below or trained carrier pigeon.

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